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2A State Preview: Melissa vs. Hempstead
December 15, 2011By Tim Polzer of VYPE MAGAZINE - Collin County
Folks around Melissa, the tiny Collin County town of about 5,000, thought the 2011 Cardinals team could be something special when they won the 3A-and-under division of the Under Armour 7-on-7 Tournament of Champions last summer at Cowboys Stadium. Now the senior-laden Cardinals are returning to Cowboys Stadium for the school’s first trip to the state football finals.
Melissa (12-1) faces Hempstead (14-0) for the Class 2A Division I championship tonight at 8 p.m.
The Cardinals flexed their postseason muscles with dominating wins over preseason No. 1 New Boston in the regionals and three-time defending state champ Daingerfield in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Hempstead surprised many with a win over Tatum in their semifinal.
Melissa’s offense is keyed by quarterback Wes McQueen, a three-year starter who has passed for 3,028 yards and 36 touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 10 TDs and gained 145 yards in the semifinal win over Muleshoe.. Running backs Kristov George and Marcus Ellis have helped balance the Cardinals' attack, combining for almost 2,000 yards and 22 TDs. Receivers Mason Hart and Michael Ellis have produced 1,564 yards and 24 TD catches.
While the Cardinals offense is prolific, averaging 38 points in the postseason, Melissa’s defense is also deep with talent including first-team all-state picks Leo Sanchez (DL), Darius Garcia (LB), Michael Ellis (S). Safety Jackson Webb was a second-team all-state pick. As is with most 2A schools, many Melissa players start on both offense and defense.
Hempstead’s defense should be a real test for Melissa’s offense. Hempstead has allowed just 21 points in three postseason games and has given up eight points or less in nine games this season.